There are only a couple of weeks until NFL free agency begins. With that in mind, let’s gets caught up on some of the buzz revolving around New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
John Clayton’s low-ball projection
ESPN’s John Clayton recently projected contract terms for the players he believes to be the top 25 players set to hit the free-agent market. Clayton admitted up front that his salary projections are “conservative,”and when it comes to Pierre-Paul his projection is certainly that.
Clayton is projecting a three-year, $37.5 million deal for the Giants’ defensive end.
My reaction? If that was all it was going to take to sign the 28-year-old, the Giants would have gotten his name on a contract already.
ESPN polled a group of cap experts recently and came up with an expected value of four years, $59 million with $21 million guaranteed. I asked former sports agent and current CBS Sports cap analyst Joel Corry for his thoughts on the ESPN value and he said it was “in the range but the guarantee is about $10M too low for that deal.”
Bottom line: I will be stunned if 3/$37.5 is enough to get JPP.
Potential landing spots
Everyone has an opinion about whether or not the Giants should or should not use the franchise tag on Pierre-Paul. My latest thoughts on that topic were addressed in this week’s mailbag.
Here is what needs to be considered: Per Spotrac, the Giants have an estimated $34.4 million to spent under a projected $168 million cap. A bit more than $5 million of that goes to the rookie pool, so right now you are looking at around $29 million in money available. For comparison, Over The Cap has the Giants with $31.6 million available, even worse.
The tag would cost the Giants $17 million. Using Spotrac’s numbers, that leaves them $12 million. How do you sign a premier offensive lineman, add a running back or a wide receiver, try to re-sign Keenan Robinson and keep a few million in reserve for next year with just $12 million? Forget about even talking to Johnathan Hankins.
Yes, the Giants could clear a bit more room by cutting J.T. Thomas III, which I believe they will eventually do, and re-structuring the contract of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie There is no way, though, that they will be flush with enough money to do everything they would like to do. Tagging Pierre-Paul would significantly handicap their ability to improve other areas.